November 21, 2011
Dr. Shannon Kelly
As the study of psychology has progressed the psychological perspectives have changed as well. Only a few perspectives with core values have remained in today's ocean of theories. The theories of Edward Tolman, B.F. Skinner, and John B. Watson remain as the foundation for several schools of thought in today's psychology. In this paper I am going to compare and contrast the theories of all three men.
John Broadus Watson was born in 1878 just outside Greenville, South Carolina. At the young age of 16 Watson went off to college. When Watson was just 21 he earned his Master's degree and from there he went on to become a school principal. After just a year, Watson left his job as school principal and enrolled at the University of Chicago. While attending the University of Chicago Watson studied philosophy under John Dewey. Not satisfied with the teachings of Dewey, Watson sought out different professors to study under. This is where physiologist Henry Donaldson and functionalist psychologist James Rowland Angell came in. After working with Angell and Dewey for a while, Watson took what he had learned from them and began forming his own theories about behavior. These theories eventually became known as behaviorism. Because of his theories John B. Watson eventually became known in psychology as the founder of the school of behaviorism. Behaviorism, according to Wikipedia is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things which organisms do-including thinking, feeling, and acting-can and should be regarded as behaviors. Watson believed that behavior was elicited and that people did not experience emotions, that they were a type of response to other stimuli. Watson focused on creating a more objective science when it came to classical behaviorism. The most famous experience that Watson conducted was that of Albert. Little Albert was only nine months old when Watson began conducting his experiments. At the beginning of the experiment everyday Albert would be given rats to play with as a way to stay occupied. Watson viewed little Albert's activity as a stimulus. Little Albert was allowed to have the rat which resulted in playful behavior. For the experiment Albert would be given a rat to play with, but now when he began to play with the rat, a loud noise was introduced. After several times of hearing the loud noise when he began to play with the rats, Watson noticed that Albert's response began to change. Now Albert was not happy to see the rat, instead his behavior had shifted and little Albert would cry when the rat was introduced to him. When things that were similar to the fuzzy rat such as Santa Claus masks, fur coats and dogs were presented to him Albert would display fear.